As they travelled down the road, they came to a place where there was some water, and the official said, ‘Here is some water. What is to keep me from being baptized?’ The official ordered the carriage to stop, and both Philip and the official went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. Acts 8: 36,38
At baptisms, Celtic Christians often did not collect water and pour it into a font. They went to the source of water, a spring, well or river, and were baptised there. And they frequently sprinkled or stood in water to remind them that baptism is a way of life, a way of being immersed in God. The Orthodox Christians of the east have a similar understanding:
The voice of the Lord cries out across the waters saying: Come, all of you, and receive the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of understanding, the spirit of reverence of God who is shown to us in Jesus Christ. as he wades into the waters of the river Jordan, the river which rolls back its currents as it looks upon the Lord coming to be immersed. You came as a man, O Christ our King, to receive the immersion of a servant from the hands of the Forerunner; this was because of our sins, O you Lover of humankind. The Forerunner, John the Baptiser, became all trembling as he looked upon you coming towards him. ‘How can the candlestick illumine the light?’, he cried out, ‘how can a slave lay hands upon his Lord? Make me and these waters holy, O Saviour who takes away the sins of the world’. Make this a fountain of immortality
A gift of cleansing
A remission of sins
A healing of compulsive habits
A destroying of demons
A renewing of our God-given nature
Adapted from an Orthodox Rite of the Blessing of the Waters
Immerse us in your pure water
and your gift of your tender heart.
Immerse us in your healing water
and your gift of wisdom.
Immerse us in your renewing waters
and your gift of reverence